The 12-bed end-of-life care unit expects to serve 550+ patients annually.
Broward County residents now have easier access to quality end-of-life care with the expansion of the VITAS Healthcare Inpatient Hospice Unit (IPU) at Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale. The nation’s leading provider of end-of-life care completed construction in October 2023, increasing its capacity from eight to 12 patient beds to provide high-acuity care to patients with serious illness. The new VITAS hospice wing expects to serve approximately 550 patients each year.
“At Broward Health Medical Center, we remain steadfast in our commitment to comprehensive healthcare, encompassing the crucial aspects of medical treatment and the invaluable comfort of palliative and end-of-life care,” said Aurelio Fernandez III, interim president and CEO of Broward Health. “Through the expansion of this VITAS hospice floor, we’re better equipped to extend compassionate services to more patients, ensuring smoother transitions to the specialized care they deserve.”
The Miami-based hospice provider began serving patients at the Broward Health Medical Center in February 2022 in an eight-bed IPU.
“VITAS is proud to continue our ongoing partnership with Broward Health,” added Kathleen Coronado, senior general manager at VITAS Healthcare. “These additional patient rooms allow us to help meet the demand of more individuals choosing high-quality hospice care that aligns with their end-of-life goals and wishes.”
The facility is located on the 2nd floor of the hospital’s west wing, at 1600 South Andrews Avenue in Fort Lauderdale, convenient to area restaurants, lodging, churches and other amenities. The 12-bed IPU features rooms with televisions and internet access, a private quiet room and a shared kitchen and family gathering area. It is open to guests 24/7 with overnight accommodations for visiting loved ones. Service animals are welcome at all times, and VITAS Paw Pals® friendly pet visits are available upon request.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was hosted by VITAS on October 19 to commemorate the official opening of the expanded wing. The event was attended by Broward Health leadership and clinicians who were invited to tour the new home-like center.
“The collaboration between VITAS Healthcare and Broward Health is just one of many ways we’re making healthcare services in our communities better and more efficient,” said Jaime Caldwell, president of the South Florida Hospital and Healthcare Association. “We believe in working together and talking openly with leaders across the healthcare field. By bringing everyone on board, we can find solutions, offer expertise and steer healthcare in a positive direction.”
VITAS IPUs provide patients near the end of life with a home away from home when their symptoms can no longer be managed in their usual residence. Patients and their families receive care from an interdisciplinary VITAS team, which includes a physician, nurse, hospice aide, social worker, chaplain, volunteer and bereavement expert. This team provides 24/7 support for the medical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of patients and their loved ones.
Since 1980, VITAS has been providing hospice care to the residents of Broward County in their homes, their preferred care settings or inpatient units like the ones at Broward Health in Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs and Deerfield Beach. Care teams and clinicians are available 24/7 to provide care and answer questions. Healthcare professionals can download the VITAS Healthcare mobile app for secure, one-touch referrals, VITAS locations and interactive guidelines for hospice eligibility. Referrals are also accepted 24/7 by calling 800.93.VITAS or at VITAS.com/Referrals.
About VITAS® Healthcare
Established in 1978, VITAS Healthcare is a pioneer and leader in the American hospice movement. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, VITAS (pronounced VEE-tahs) operates 50 hospice programs in 14 states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin) and the District of Columbia. VITAS employs 10,443 professionals who care for patients with advanced illness, primarily in the patients’ homes, and also in the company’s 25 inpatient hospice units as well as in hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living communities/residential care facilities for the elderly. At the conclusion of the third quarter of 2023, VITAS reported an average daily census of 19,047. Visit www.vitas.com.